Getting naked in Turkey

Getting naked in Turkey

Our research for a flight to Sri Lanka that wouldn’t drown most of our monthly budget gave us Istanbul as the perfect place to fly from.
Istanbul.
Yes, we’ve followed the news recently and especially the controls on internet censorship which the Turkish government are implementing worried us a little.
What if they know about Naked Wanderings?
What if they know that WE are Naked Wanderings?
Not being allowed into the country was a risk we didn’t care so much about, being picked from the street, questioned and possibly put in jail was a much bigger worry.
But badasses as we are we decided to give it a try. The flight was really a bargain and let’s face it, as long as we stick to the rules we still have the right to be nudists. Or nudist bloggers. Right?

 

The day before we were entering Turkey we noticed that our story got covered by a Turkish news site… Come on, what are the odds? So we have to admit that we were not 100% confident when we crossed the border and that we were quite relieved when nobody seemed to recognize us and the stamp was put in our passports.
We were in!
And while we were there anyway, we could as well try if we couldn’t get some nudie time…

 

Naturism in Turkey
We probably don’t have to tell you that the options for naturists in Turkey are more or less zero. Not only is it a Muslim country, the current government has a strong policy against public nudity, especially mixed gender.
This hasn’t always been the case, years ago when Western tourism started to get a foot on the ground in Turkey, the government had to be quite liberal about the prescriptions regarding clothing and especially bathing suits. They had to compete with Spain and the south of France, where topless sunbathing was a pretty normal thing to do those days, so they looked the other way when a woman decided to lose her top at the swimming pool of the resort and the staff was briefed (or treathened) not to stare, not to mention it and certainly not to touch.

 

It didn’t take long before nudists also found their way to the country and soon Patara beach and Butterfly Valley got recognized as unofficial nude beaches. And as it always goes, the local community started to give it a try themselves and more and more Turks embraced nudism.
This was not much appreciated by the government.
The opening of the first naturist resort in Turkey in 2010 was for them the perfect moment to make a stand. Within a week the place was closed down and the government announced that they would not embrace naturism. Ever.
Today, even though Turkey has become a very western country, public nudity is still a big no-no.

The baths
This decision might seem a bit surprising, given the fact that Turkey has a long history on social nudity (although gender separated) in their hammams.
For those not familiar with the term, a hammam is a bath house, where people go to get washed. They exist from the days when there was no water supply to every house, so when your partner, your children and your dog ran away from the smell of your feet, you went to the bath house.
For the poor this was not much more than a cellar with a pipe leaking water, but for the more fortunate Turks there were beautifully decorated places where one could spend the afternoon getting soaked, getting relaxed and being washed (yes, if even you couldn’t stand the smell of your feet anymore, there was a guy who could wash them for you).
These bath houses still exist and are on top of the to-do list of many tourists, not only will you be in a most beautiful environment, you have all kinds of wash and massage options. You’ll leave as a new , much cleaner person.

 

Istanbul and many other cities around Turkey have bath houses that almost exclusively cater for tourists. Before you enter, you’re given a towel to wrap around your waist so you won’t be completely naked, most visitors even shower with this towel, but few people will frown if you decide to leave it off.
This is the only legal way to get socially naked in Turkey.

The not so legal way
But of course Turkey is a big country and has a lot of nearly populated areas, so sometimes you just can’t resist. At least we couldn’t. Our hike through the red and rose valleys in Cappadocia was one of those occasions. Being in such a magnificent landscape with clearly nobody around was enough reason to bare it all. Well, at least for a short period because we were scared as hell of getting caught, but it was an amazing experience anyway.
Turkey also has a very long coast line, which we couldn’t explore much due to a lack of time but which must certainly have some desolated beaches where pants could be dropped.
Just keep in mind that the government is very strict on this and that you can be put in jail. Other than that, especially in rural areas the people might not appreciate your naked asses so please be careful if you decide to bare it all in Turkey!

 

All in all Turkey is an amazingly beautiful country which has lots to offer for tourists and which could offer much for nudists as well, if only it was allowed.
Think about naked hikes in Cappadocia, skinny dips in the mineral lakes of Pamukkale or naturist areas on Turkey’s maginificent beaches.
At the moment, it’s still a dream, let’s hope it becomes reality one day!

 


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2 thoughts on “Getting naked in Turkey

    1. Thanks for this addition Rob!
      Indeed, Turkey has no state religion, we should’ve mentioned that. We meant this in the same way as we would say that Belgium is a Christian country, just based on the religion of the majority.

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